The GB Album Club 038 - The Money Store by Death Grips

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unclejam23

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Duders! Welcome to the 38th edition of the Unofficial Giant Bomb Album Club! Over the last few weeks, the wheel spinner we use to randomly select the albums from our pool has favored prog. Like heavily favored. We listened to three prog/prog adjacent albums in a row. Not to say that they weren't bangers, but last week, we did something different with a live jazz album, and now we're going as far in the opposite direction of prog as possible with The Money Store by Death Grips! This album was selected by yours truly, and you can listen with the links below:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/1PQDjdBpHPikAodJqjzm6a

Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/the-money-store/515449028

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2D59D51BDE448389

Here at the ol' Unofficial Giant Bomb Album Club, we made a pool of albums and we pick one at random to discuss and listen to every week. If you want to submit your own picks, come on down to our Discord! There's no theme this time, so you can submit whatever you want.

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redwing42

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I've Seen Footage. That's all I really have to say about this album. None of it really caught my attention, or spoke to me, except I've Seen Footage. For whatever reason, that one grabbed me. Hacker was also ok. But I've Seen Footage is a banger.

For whatever reason, listening to this album made me want to then listen to Genesis Owusu. Probably the similarities in the vocalist's tone.

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unclejam23

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I listened to this album for the first time in 2014, and the first thing I did was play some of it for my friend who has synesthesia.

His case isn't "severe," or however you quantify a condition like that. He doesn't see noise. Rather there's a very specific physical relationship his body has with sound, and as a result, he mostly likes the most electronic-y of electronic music. Songs with lots of bleeps and bloops arranged as mathematically as possible. Still, I described The Money Store to him and he wanted to give it a shot, so I obliged him. (He also has a music composition/theater background and curiosity got the best of him.) I thought he would violently reject it. Turns out he sort of... loved it. Not to the extent that I do (btw, I consider this album among my favorites, though unlike a lot of internet denizens, I can be chill about it), but he's very much into what Death Grips does and loves it from afar.

Recently, I made a gigantic playlist of dancey/high-energy songs that I've been bringing to the WGA picket line that I play through a big ass Bluetooth speaker I bought. Just for the fuck of it, I put in "Hacker" from this album. It finally came up in the shuffle a few months ago (yes, the strike's lasted that long) and I was expecting it to be a disaster. But it went well! Shockingly so, even! It's come up a few times since and it goes well every time. Granted, "Hacker" is one of the more accessible songs on the album, but still, it's pretty damn far from your typical dance pop.

I've listened to this album enough times that nothing it does seems particularly strange to me anymore. On top of that, Death Grips has been so heavily mythologized on the internet that they probably don't seem as unapproachable as they did back in their earlier days. And yet, I still think of them as the ultimate act to scare off the normies. The entire reason I picked this album, apart from it being a fascinating one to introduce people to, is because I felt like my choices have been getting a little safe lately and I wanted to shake things up. But is this that left field a choice anymore?

Maybe I've lost perspective after having lived with this album for so long. But I think there's a secret sauce to Death Grips: They're incredibly gifted musicians who know what they're doing and know how to make effective music. Yes, this album is highly experimental and abrasive, but it stays in the lines, even when it's so aggressive and aesthetically caustic that it tricks you into thinking it's more out of control than it actually is. Is sampling one of the Williams Sister's tennis grunts and distorting it to the point that it becomes a hellish unrecognizable digital screech a normal thing to do? No. But it works! Both as an aesthetic choice and as an act of basic musical composition as well.

I think the lesson I've learned from Death Grips is that it's not whether or not you break the rules. It's how you break them and, more importantly, why. My degree is in screenwriting. Yes, there's traditional structure and established writing standards and "rules" and all that shit. But I guarantee you that all your favorite movies break those rules, be it a lot of them or just one or two, and the reason it works is that there are certain emotions that aren't served well by sticking to a formula. Sometimes to get that extra emotional oomph, you gotta take off in a new direction. The question is knowing when to do so. Death Grips knows when to do so.

Favorite Songs: "The Fever (Aye Aye)," "System Blower," "Hacker"